I strongly suspect that on the very same day in history someone had the first ever ‘creative spark’ it was also exactly the same day the mysterious muse also made her premier appearance.
Because as far as I am concerned the two are inseparable.
But before we proceed any further, perhaps we should take a quick step back and ask the question; what exactly do we mean by ‘muse’?
The answer might not be quite what you think.
To most people under a certain age the word ‘muse’ just relates to a pretty good rock band from Devon. But to everyone else ‘muse’ is either a verb i.e. the act of intensely pondering or reflecting on something… or a noun i.e. a person or thing that inspires artistic creativity and genius.
Of course grammatically speaking the last two are both correct. So it will come as no surprise therefore that they share the same initial root source – although you have to go back a fair bit in time to get there. In fact all the way past French and Latin and right back to ancient Greece, classical mythology and the capricious Gods perched up high on Mount Olympus.
And at this juncture I’ll admit things can get a little bit confusing.
But hey, lets keep things simple. Lets just say that the Muses were the daughters of Zeus (king of the gods) and Mnemosyne’s (goddess of memory) who collectively inspired the creative processes and fired the imagination.
It’s also where we get the word ‘museum’, ‘music’ and ‘musette (that’s a bagpipe in case you didn’t know).
Anyway, enough of all that and back to my list and why every good copy writer should find a muse (if they haven’t already – which they probably have but might not know it yet).
1. All the great creative types throughout history have benefited through having a muse
Don’t believe me?
Think; Dante and Beatrice, Manet and Meurent, Dali and Gala, Lennon and Ono, Vermeer and the girl that looked like Scarlett Johansson with the pearl earring oh and of course…Gainsbourg with both Bardot and Birkin.
Lucky old Monsieur Gainsbourg!
2. They are not just for the boys
‘Happy is the man whom the Muses love: sweet speech flows from his mouth’ – Hesiod
Okay, I’ll admit it right now the original muses were woman (or more accurately goddesses) and so are a lot of the other subsequent famous ones.
But not all of them.
It’s probably due to most well known writers and artists etc in the past being predominately male and living in a male centric world that has skewed things that way.
But times they are a’changin.
Both Patti Smith (punk rock poet goddess) and Francis Bacon (note; the artist not the eminent philosopher statesman – although on second thoughts you never know) had male muses.
3. Geography has a place
‘The muses visit when I’m lonely’ – Taylor Hicks
The infamous British novelist, social commentator and unapologetic sesquipedalian (user of long winded words) Will Self cites the city of London as his muse.
And frankly I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Woody Allen felt the same way about New York.
So, muses can be places too. I am sure you have been inspired yourself by a destination you love.
4. Muses can be ‘high spirited’
‘Write drunk; edit sober’ – Ernest Hemingway
It seems nowadays that the most popular muse is neither person nor place but instead something rather more…shall we say…potable!
Yep, that right, for us creative types these days inspiration, insight and exaltation can often be found in a bottle or at the bottom of a glass!
Of course history is literally littered with notable writers with more than just a penchant for drink.
From Dylan Thomas and Edgar Allan Poe to Truman Capote and Dorothy Parker. In fact, its actually pretty hard to find a famous writer or artist who wasn’t attached to the hip (flask) of booze or sometimes something even more potent and addictive!
The trick of course with this muse is to know when to stop, control it and enjoy it – something sadly for many talents easier said than done!
5. For teetotallers and abstainers there is always tea and coffee!
I am being serious here.
Your muse can be whatever you want it to be as long as it breathes creativity and inspiration into the core of your very soul and is 100% authentic.
It can be a nice cup off Earl Grey (my husbands favourite).
Or perhaps a long non-fat latte half sweet macciato (not mine but it must be someone’s out there!).
6. A muse could help you get healthier as well as wealthier
That’s right, if your thing is keeping fit then there’s no reason why your passion for going to the gym, doing yoga, running or swimming couldn’t be your perfect muse.
As a matter of fact there are many great copywriters who started out as fitness instructors and health coaches.
Although the inspiration behind this may simply have been that writing copy for this market is probably one of the most lucrative with a captive audience to boot.
After all, who doesn’t want to look and feel great?
7. There are no limits
As I mentioned earlier the word muse comes from Zeus and Mnemosyne’s daughters.
But what I didn’t mention was there were nine of them. Yes, nine!
Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Melpomeni, Terpsichore, Erato, Polymnia, Ourania and Calliope.
Between them they quite literally ruled over the arts and sciences. They were masters of everything from astronomy to music, dance, comedy, poetry and grammar.
I am sure now you can see the rich and abundant spring you could be drawing upon.
8. A lover or enemy, a teacher or a student, alive or inanimate.
‘I have my permanent muses and my muses of the moment’ – Karl Lagerfeld
The most important thing about a muse is not what they are but what they stir in you as the writer.
The real muse will focus your attention with passion and fire up the creative process within your heart.
The result; you will be inspired to produce original innovative work when you surrender to the charms and guile’s of your muse and let the symbiotic energy flow powerfully through your being.
When the muse pays a visit you will find your persuasive skills are at their height (this free guide re Mastering the Art of Persuasion will also help)
Basically, forget about any writer’s block!
9. The best companions
There are many benefits to being a writer. But lets face it, there are also some big negatives.
One of them is that it can be a very lonely job indeed.
At times it can be boring and solitary. So having a stimulating companion who is fun and entertaining, and seems to understand you better than anyone plus keeps you busy and content at all times can be an extremely appealing thing.
Enter the muse. Your most loyal companion, if you treat ‘her’ right.
Before I go I will leave you with my own little muse related confession. Although I love my husband massively, and certainly enjoy a glass of chilled dry white Olaszrizling, honestly and truthfully my muse is my beloved little Parson Terrier dog!
Bet you didn’t see that one coming.
I hope you will agree with me when I say it’s time to give credit, respect and recognition to one of the most undervalued and forgotten friends of the writer – ‘the muse’. I would love to hear your opinion and even better, find out who your muse is?
Of course, the most efficient of muses is said to be the deadline.
It would be great to hear your musings on the subject!
Eleanor Goold is owner and founder of Kreativ Copywriting a forward thinking and friendly writing, copywriting and content creation service. She also has her own branded website EleanorGoold.com where she provides business owners with smart ideas, copy tips, and blogs about the art of storytelling. She also runs The Copywriter Facebook Group and is the tutor of The Utterly Compelling Email Copywriter online course.
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